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Full text of "Compulsory pilotage : argument in behalf of the New England Ship-Owners' Association and others, for the abolition of compulsory pilotage on sailing vessels"

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A R G U M E N T 









FEBRUARY 2.5, 1882, 

WITH o . 

Petition of Ship-owners, and other statements relating to the subject. 

1 882. 


Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee: — 

The New England Ship-owners' Association, and other 
parties interested in shipping, who have appeared before you, 
either personally or by petition, and asked you to recommend 
to the General Court a repeal of those provisions of the pilot- 
age regulations which make the payment of pilotage fees on 
sailing vessels in the ports of this State compulsory, represent 
the shipping interests of Massachusetts. And these parties 
have asked this, in the belief that compulsory pilotage is now 
unnecessary, a useless burden, a fruitful source of litigation, 
and an injury to the commerce of the State. 

The men who comprise this Association, and these parties, 
are the active business men of the present time, — men whose 
interests and fortunes are those of the public ; men to whom 
the Commonwealth and her seaport cities and towns are in- 
debted for what remains of your interest in foreign commerce ; 
men who are still struggling with adverse circumstances and 
hostile legislation to keep the flag of your country upon the 
ocean. They are men of business experience and prudence ; 
and they will sustain the loss, if any occurs in consequence of 
the granting of the request which they here make. 

By whom are they opposed? A few privileged incumbents 
of an office whose only interest in the subject is the amount of 
their fees, — not one of whom owns or represents a dollar in 
shipping. With one exception, no person who has any inter- 
est in foreign shipping or commerce has appeared to sec- 
ond or aid the pilots in their opposition, and this exception 


is a retired shipmaster, who has not sailed a ship for thirty 
years. From these privileged possessors of an office you hear 
the same objections that you always have heard, and always 
will hear, from the occupants of any office or place which 
it becomes your duty to abolish. 

Like the old German barons who erected castles on the 
banks and islands of the Rhine, and forcibly exacted tolls from 
all voyagers, up or down, they pray not to be molested. Like 
the Hellgate pilots of East River, who carried on a legalized 
piracy on the commerce at the port of New York for forty 
years, they want to be let alone. We have grown old and 
gray in our office, say they; what shall we do without it? 

I am not unaware of what might be justly said against com- 
pulsory pilotage, as belonging to that obnoxious kind of law 
which is called "class legislation;" or to what might be said 
against it as being contrary to that natural sense of right which 
every man has against being obliged to pay another for some- 
thing which he does not have, or use, or want; or even against 
the gross injustice of making a few persons pay the entire 
expense of maintaining an institution whose existence is 
claimed to be for the benefit of the whole public. 

I must "be content here with the more limited practical duty 
of endeavoring to show that the reasons which called compul- 
sory pilotage into existence, and which have been in times 
past presented for its continuance, no longer exist; that it is 
not only not now needed, but is a useless and grievous burden 
upon the shipping interest of the State. 

Now, if you will examine into the reasons originally assigned 
for the compulsory feature of the pilotage laws, you will find 
that the chief and real one was the alleged increase of safety to 
the lives of passengers on board such vessels thereby. 


As to property merely, in ships, or in such merchandise as 
is carried on sailing vessels, or as to the protection of it, no 
government has ever undertaken to dictate to its owners what 
measures they must take to save or insure it against loss. It 
may be prudent or best for owners of such property to insure 
it against fire, or the perils of the sea, but no government has 
ever attempted to compel such owners to do so. 

No, you will, by looking into the history of compulsory 
pilotage, find that its creation or adoption was put upon the 
ground of alleged necessity for the protection to the lives of 
passengers on board such vessels, in which lives the owners of 
the vessels had no interest, and which they could not insure. 
This is virtually admitted in recent acts of the British Parlia- 
ment, which have exempted certain vessels from such compul- 
sory pilotage, when such vessels do not carry passengers. The 
acts of Congress on the transportation of passengers on steam- 
vessels are to the same point. The strict requirements in the acts 
of Congress, as to the number and qualifications of the officers 
and crews of vessels, life-boats, life-preservers, etc., are expressly 
limited to vessels carrying passengers. (See U. S. Revised 
Statutes, sections 4463-4498, 4492.) Admitting the sufficiency 
of this reason for compulsory pilotage at some period in the past, 
what application does it have to sailing-vessels now? Who does 
not see that that reason no longer exists ? No one goes abroad 
in a sailing-vessel now. Is it not a fact, that not as many 
persons leave this port to go abroad in sailing-vessels, in a year, 
as go down the harbor, far beyond the Commissioners' line, in 
sailing-boats, on any summer afternoon? Besides, it is neither 
reasonable nor consistent now to say that compulsory pilotage 
is necessary to protect life or property either on sailing- 
ships, when we have already abolished it on a large class of 
ships on which life and property are exposed to as much danger 
as it is upon those vessels which remain subject to it. If all 


there is now at issue is a question of prudence in the care of 
property, why may you not leave that to the judgment of the 
owners here, as you do in all other circumstances or cases? 


We doubt whether the protection, which has been alleged to 
be in compulsory pilotage, has, at any time within the last 
thirty years, really existed. Managers of insurance corpora- 
tions are generally quick to apprehend danger, and to protect 
their interest against it. Life companies prohibit the insured 
from going almost anywhere ; but have you ever seen a policy 
prohibiting the holder from sailing in or out of port anywhere 
by reason of the absence in such port of compulsory pilotage? 
It has not been shown that underwriters on ships ever made 
any difference as to the risk or the amount of premium to be 
paid according as the vessel was or was not bound to or from 
a port where pilotage was compulsory. 

Let us not alarm ourselves for the safety of these insurance 
gentlemen. You may be sure that, at the first scent of real 
danger, they will, as they can easily, protect themselves by a 
clause in the policy. 


Note the changes which have taken place within the present 
century in respect to our coast, harbors, and methods of navi- 
gation. When the present system was adopted our coasts and 
harbors were slightly known. There was hardly a light-house, 
or any beacon, except an uncertain bonfire on some prominent 
height ; no signal stations, no telegraph, no whistles, few 
buoys, if any, to mark any channel ; no bells or fog signals ; and 
the ships which sailed out went irregularly on long voyages. 
The approaches to land generally were in the condition which 
nature left them. Since then immense sums have been ex- 


pended in straightening and improving them ; shallow places 
have been deepened, rocks removed, new channels cut, and 
marked ; every acre of the sea-coast has, with the greatest care, 
by the general government, been surveyed, and mapped out ; 
the depth of the water in every rod of the adjacent sea has 
been measured and shown on maps and charts now in the hands 
of every master mariner. Lights and signals of distinctive 
features stand on every point, headland, or island, and to the 
navigator the coast is now as safe by night as by day. The 
vessels which now ply the waters of our harbors do so with a 
regularity and frequency then unknown. Navigation, instead of 
being knowledge acquired by the slow process of personal ex- 
perience, is now a science of which more can be acquired in a 
year than in a lifetime a century ago. Steam tug-boats, then 
unknown, have also become a most important auxiliary to naviga- 
tion. They do, and are qualified to do, all that pilots ever did 
or could do, and much more. .In Boston Harbor there are 
many steam-tugs which are capable of going anywhere, and 
towing vessels of any size, from Boston to New York, Balti- 
more, Portland, or elsewhere, in any weather or season. Their 
masters are competent pilots, and required to pass rigid examina- 
tion by inspectors of the general government, and to be licensed. 
The evidence before you all shows that when any aid is required 
by a master to get his vessel in or out of port, it is the aid 
which can be given by a tug, and not by a pilot. 

We admit the antiquity of compulsory pilotage, about which 
so much has been said. Its origin was before light-houses, or 
surveys, or charts ; before storm-signals or the telegraph ; 
before improvements of the channels ; before the days of 
steamboats ; before the time of Bowditch and " The Practical 
Navigator." And it was the absence of all our present aids 
to navigation that made these now obnoxious regulations 
necessary or tolerable. 


In the infancy of communities and States, before civil laws 
are established, there are times when rough measures are re- 
sorted to for protection and safety, but which are odious and 
oppressive, and afterwards intolerable. Compulsory pilotage 
has outlived the occasions for its creation, and the period of its 
usefulness has passed. 


An attempt is made to belittle the burden of it on the ship- 
masters, by showing what a small per cent, it is of the value 
of the cargoes which enter the port. But the figures enable us 
to see exactly what the burden is. The fees upon a vessel of 
15 feet draft of water, bound in to this port, are $52.50. 
The fees upon the same vessel bound out of port are $31.50; 
making the whole amount for the trip, in and out, $84.00, 
exclusive of distance-money, which may be $10.50 more. The 
tax upon such a vessel, making ten trips per year, which vessels 
running to the British provinces may make, is $840. Mr. Delong 
stated to you that these fees for a trip often amount to one-half 
of the net earnings of the vessel ! Mr. Adams stated that 
during the present week he was obliged to pay $63 inward 
pilotage fees on a barque owned by him bound from Hayti 
to Boston ; that the whole freight of the barque was only $850, 
and that he was obliged to pay this, notwithstanding the 
barque was brought in by a steam-tug, for which tug-service 
he paid only $50; that the pilot was of no use. 

The fees upon a vessel of the same size, making five trips a 
year to the West Indies or South America, are $320. 

In a report by the late Nathaniel C. Nash, of Boston, who 
was authority on this subject, made as a member of the Com- 
mittee on Mercantile Affairs, to the House of Representatives 
in 1869, he said : — 

It was shown conclusively by the evidence before your committee that the 
fees for half pilotage, paid by small provincial vessels, averaged thirteen 


dollars a trip, and in four to six years sufficient to absorb the whole vessel, 
and often the net earnings of the vessels, and were often a percentage of 
five to ten per cent, on the cheap cargoes carried. 

It appeared, also, that most of these vessels carried cargoes of little 
value, such as wood, lumber, stone, coal, bark, and fish ; and that, in case of 
accident, more than half the property was usually recovered, and that few of 
them entered Boston during the winter. 

The senior pilot of the port, Matthew Hunt, called by the pilots, testified 
that the masters in this trade, after serving a year as mariners and a year as 
mates, were generally competent to bring ^n or take out their vessels. 

It was also in proof, that most of the money drawn from vessels engaged 
in commerce with the Provinces was collected for services tendered and 

In a communication made by the Solicitor of the "Vessel- 
Owners and Masters' Association," of Philadelphia, to the 
chairman of the Special Committee of Congress, " On the 
causes of the reduction of American tonnage," in 1870, 
appears this statement^ — 

A vessel is thus compelled, in the course of a year, to pay a sum equal 
at least to one-eighth of her net earnings for that year to pilot and pilot 
associations ; and this, too, where services are neither actually rendered nor 

In a statement made by the committee of the Maritime 
Association of New York, in November, 1879, on this subject, 
it was stated, that 

Notwithstanding the immense foreign trade of the port — New York — 
low rate of interest, reduction of wages, and cost of supplies, competition, 
and other causes have rendered the carrying trade unremunerative ; Ameri- 
can vessels, under the best management and most favorable circumstances, 
barely paying any interest, and foreign vessels doing no better. The net 
earnings of the pilots, in the meantime, have been steadily increasing, until 
they now average more than the wages of the highest commodores of the 
largest mercantile steamships of modern times. 

Mr. John S. Emery, in an able presentation of the question 
to you, showed, from his long experience and practical knowl- 


edge, how heavily this tax and burden bears upon the ship- 
owners of New England, whose vessels naturally enter the port 
of Boston. He also, by comparison with the rates of other 
ports, showed that the rates for this port are higher relatively — 
in proportion to the distance run and labor and time occupied 
in pilotage service — than in any other port of this country. 


But it is said — and this is the one staple argument; a mere 
assumption — that the maintenance of the compulsory feature 
is the only condition on which the pilotage system can be kept 
up. We deny this ; and we have not to go out of our own ex- 
perience to show that it is not so. Compulsory pilotage was, 
in 1 87 1 and in 1873, removed from about one-half the number 
of vessels sailing from this port, and the gilotage system has not 
suffered ; nor has the pilotage service in the harbor been im- 
paired. No one claims it. Do the pilots admit that such service 
is deteriorating? On the contrary, we see that the amount of 
fees which the pilots have received has increased from $79,79-2 
in 1873, to $1 17,428 in 1881, and this last year, too, remember, 
they received no compulsory fees from outward-bound sailing 
vessels ; and the number of pilot boats is constantly increasing. 
Five only are required by law to be kept, but business is good 
enough to employ seven. There is no want of good pilots in 
the ports of Maine, or in any ports where pilotage is not com- 
pulsory. In a report of the Committee on Commerce of the 
44th Congress, in April, 1876, on this subject, submitted by Mr. 
Pierce, of this State, it is stated, that 

The experience on the coast of Maine, the most dangerous on the At- 
lantic seaboard, has also demonstrated the fact, that, even in the less fre- 
quented ports, it is not necessary to tax vessels which do not require pilots, 
in order to maintain an organization for those which do require them. 


And in a Report of Shipping, by a Committee of the British 
Parliament, in i860, is the following statement : — 

It appears that in the pilotage district of Newcastle, where the voluntary 
system prevails, and where navigation is difficult, and. at times, dangerous, 
no inconvenience results from the absence of any legal compulsion to em- 
ploy a pilot ; neither is the demand for, nor the supply of, duly licensed 
pilots in any way diminished by the practice which prevails ; on the contrary, 
the supply is much greater that it is at any other place where pilotage is 

Has it been shown that there is a port anywhere in which 
pilots are needed and they cannot be obtained, irrespective of 
compulsory pilotage regulations? Is pilotage the solitary busi- 
ness, and is Boston the solitary place where the supply of any 
service will not come with the demand for it? Do the advo- 
cates of compulsory pilotage want more than a supply for the 
demand? Do they want to tax me, not only for what some one 
else may want, but also for what neither he nor anybody wants? 
No. Free competition would improve this service, as it does 
every other. Do you expect improvement in a legalized mo- 
nopoly? What stimulus is there to improve their service, when 
the pilots have guaranteed to them all there is? What induce- 
ment have they to go far out to sea in bad weather to seek for 
vessels in peril, or in want of pilots, when they can lie along the 
Commissioners' line, in safety and comfort, and be sure of 
catching them all? And, as might be expected, they do not do 
it. Every master mariner who has been before us has said that 
it is in bad weather, when pilots are needed, that they are not 
found; that, like Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., of Her Majesty's 
ship Pinafore, 

When the breezes blow, 
They generally go below. 

It is said that the law gives the fee for an offer to the first 

pilot only who tenders his services to an inward-bound vessel ; 


but suppose the pilots pool their catch, as the fishermen do, and 
as the pilots to some extent certainly do, what becomes of the 
incentive or stimulus to go out to sea in bad weather then? 
The law secures to them all there is to be had. 

Mr. Delong, who probably handles as many vessels coming 
from the Provinces to this port as any broker or merchant 
here, stated that it was the constant statement of the masters of 
those vessels that pilots were plenty in fair weather ; scarce in 
bad. We say that the law itself is calculated to create, as it has, 
a corps of "fair-weather pilots." 

The testimony on this point from many masters and owners, 
from Mr. Lunt, and even from some of the pilots also, shows that 
this is not an exaggeration. And the real cause of this state of 
things is not so much the fault of the pilots as it is of the law. 



It is urged as a reason for retaining this law that the pros- 
perous commercial empire of Great Britain retains it. But is 
it shown that the prosperity of England, or the extent of her 
commerce, or any part of it, is attributable to compulsory 
pilotage? The commercial prosperity of England no more 
proves the advantage of such pilotage than it does the advan- 
tage of the law of primogeniture, or the peculiarities of her 
laws of marriage. 

Many things are often taken for cause and effect which are 
only coincidents. 

Compulsory pilotage prevails to a much less extent in 
English ports than is claimed. And it is certain that many 
classes of ships in English ports are now free, which, twenty 
years ago, were subject to such pilotage. But we do not follow 
English example in this matter. English ship-owners have a 
protection which we do not have, that relieves compulsory 
pilotage there of its most unjust feature. 


England and her colonies — Canada and Australia — exempt 
the owners of vessels from liability, loss, or damage occasioned 
by the vessel while such licensed pilot is on board and in com- 
mand, — and most justly. Why should the master or owner 
of a vessel be held liable for a damage occasioned by the 
neglect, misconduct, or fault of a person, pilot or otherwise, 
whom they, such master or owner, had no power to select, and 
whom they could not refuse to take? Clearly they should not, 
and there they are not. 

6 Geo. IV., ch. 125, sec. 56. 

Abbott on Shipping, 12th ed., p. 159. 

The Protector, 1 Wm. Rob., 45. 

Yet the courts of the United States hold that vessels are not 
exempt from liability for damage or loss occasioned by collision 
or other cause, although occasioned by the sole fault of such a 
pilot which the law obliges them to take, and while on board 
and in actual command of the vessel. 

See Steamship China, 7 Wallace, 53. 

This is now the law of the land, so that now the law obliges 
the master and owner, in ports where pilotage is compulsory, to 
surrender the management of their ship into the hands of a 
stranger, over whom they have no control, and yet the vessel 
and her owners remain liable for any damages resulting by 
collision or otherwise, though occasioned solely by the neglect, 
incompetency, or misconduct of such pilot. 

American ship-owners justly protest against being placed in 
such a position as this. If you should change it so as to give 
them the relief from the liability .which ship-owners under the 
law of England have, then they would also justly ask you to 
provide that the pilots themselves be made practically answer- 
able and responsible for their faults, negligence, and mis- 
conduct, by which loss or damage is occasioned to ship-owners. 


This difference between the English law and ours not only 
destroys any authority which the policy of England might 
otherwise be to us in this matter, but this liability (of vessels and 
their owners for damages occasioned by such pilot) is alone, I 
think, a sufficient reason for abolishing compulsory pilotage. 
Shall we put off the repeal of an unjust law because other States 
or nations do? It is possible that each and all of them have 
some reason for retaining it which we do not have. One reason 
is said to exist in some harbors of the Southern States which 
does not exist here, — the changing position of sand-bars, which 
cannot always be accurately shown on the chart. 

Is it worth while to keep up this system in any spirit of re- 
taliation, because other nations do so? Shall we embarrass or 
burden the trade, for instance, with the British Provinces, which 
brings to us the products of those places, which we need, and 
with which they buy, to take back there, the manufactures and 
products of our country, which we desire to sell, merely be- 
cause those Provinces impose certain dues or taxes on our 
ships going there? It must not be forgotten that our govern- 
ment exacts a tonnage tax of thirty cents per ton each year 
on all their ships which enter our ports, which tax is larger 
than all the light dues, etc., which the Provinces impose on our 
ships entering their ports. 

To the present time (Feb. I, 1882) we believe that pilotage 
on outward-bound vessels was never compulsory in this State, 
and that an examination of the statutes will show it. See Chap. 

It appears that the pilot commissioners, under Sect. 1 7 of Chap. 
176 of the Act of 1862, applied to the Governor and Coun- 
cil in Sept., 1865, for a proclamation of the Governor to make 
pilotage upon outward-bound vessels compulsory. No notice 



of such application was given to ship-owners or other parties 
to be affected by it; no hearing was had; but such proclama- 
tion was made, and published, in 1865, in one Boston news 
paper, and never until now was published or printed in any other 
place. It never appeared with the statutes of the Common- 
wealth. We believe that it was not law ; that it had not the 
force of law; and that the Legislature of 1862 never intended 
by the power which they did give to the Governor and Council 
in said Section 17, Chap. 176, of 1862, to delegate to the Gov- 
ernor and Council the power to create a new tax and burden 
and obligation of that character ; that if they did, it was un- 

No attempt was made to enforce it; the pilots did not dare 
to test it by carrying any case into court, and the Legislature, 
in 1869, by Chap. 236, repealed the whole of said Sect. 17; and 
it was thought that by that repeal of Sect. 17 the proclamation 
of the Governor, which rested upon it, then ceased to have any 
force, if any it ever had. 

It is true, however, the exact state of the case not being 
generally known to ship-masters, that the pilots succeeded in 
various ways in making masters pay pilotage fees on many 
outward-bound vessels. 

Ship-owners, about three years ago, became apprised of the 
facts, and payments of outward pilotage ceased. An action 
was brought into court to recover such pilotage, in the summer 
of 1 88 1, and is now pending. 

It appears, however, that the attention of the Committee on 
the Revision of the Statutes, which went into effect on the 1st 
inst., was called to the said proclamation of the Governor, and 
without hearing or discussion, as I can find out, was put into 
the body of the public statutes as Sect. 27 of Chap. 70. 

By this statute outward pilotage is now compulsory in this 
port, upon those vessels on which it is compulsory, when such 

vessels are bound into said port, — a long step backward 

The pilots and pilot commissioners are, of course, desirous of 
keeping that law. It will increase their revenue. But it would 
be, it seems to us, an abuse of the privilege and power of this 
General Court, if they suffered it to remain over this session. 

We cannot think that you can hesitate to relieve parties in- 
terested in shipping in this State from a law so secretly and 
irregularly foisted upon them. Who can fail to see the different 
circumstances of leaving port from those of entering it? 

Chief Justice Shaw, fifty years ago, in a question before the 
Court (Heridia v. Ayres, 12 Pick., p. 343), on this subject, 
said : — 

Vessels outward bound have the selection of their time of sailing under 
favorable circumstances of wind and weather, with a full knowledge of their 
position, and when they have cleared the land can proceed to sea without 
danger. With inward-bound vessels all this is reversed; the danger consists 
in approaching the land, and they need the aid of a pilot when this danger 

The theory on which the Commissioners' line is drawn is, that 
it is safe for vessels to go without pilots inside of it. If vessels 
bound in pass it without being spoken, they are deemed by the 
law past all dangers, and afterwards are not obliged to take a 
pilot for the rest of the way in. Yet Mr. Nash says truly, that 
the pilots on outward-bound vessels take them only to this same 
line, thereby piloting outward-bound vessels over that portion 
only of the harbor where the law deems and declares it to be so 
safe as to allow vessels going the other way to go without pilot ! 
To such absurdities does this law lead. 

This Commissioners' line was changed, or attempted to be 
changed, also by the Governor and Council in 1866; but the 
change was never published with the laws of the State, nor is it 
found in the Public Statutes., or in print anywhere else except in 
a newspaper of that year. 



Much is and will be said and done out of sympathy for the 
" poor pilots"! It is said that they must live. If there is a 
necessity for a charity here, let the expense of it be borne, as. 
that of other State charities are, by general taxation, by the 
public at large. Is it not unkind, to say the least, to throw that 
burden in the future on to a few persons, because they have been 
good enough to bear it in the past? But the pilots need no 
charity. Pilotage on steamships last year amounted to $63,265, 
within $2,000 of as much as the pilotage on all vessels amounted 
to in 1867, when there were the same number of pilots. Many 
large sailing vessels will be piloted in as heretofore. The in- 
crease of foreign steamships has been such that the amount of 
the pilots' receipts from them for 1 88 1 was over $11,000 
greater than it was in 1880; and over $7,000 greater in 1880 
than it was in 1879; and over $9,500 larger in 1879 than in 
1878; and over $15,000 larger in 1878 than it was in 1877. 
These figures are from the statement of the secretary of the 
pilot commissioners produced here. From the same statement 
it appears the total receipts for pilotage of steam vessels in 1872 
was $7,725 ; in 1 88 1 it was $63,265, — over $55,000 increase in 
nine years. Counsel for the pilots finds comfort for his clients 
in the fact that the shipping of Bangor and Portland has not 
increased latterly, and that in those ports there is no compulsory 
pilotage. But how is it with Salem and Newburyport, which 
have the benefits of compulsory pilotage? Such comparisons 
or instances prove nothing. One might as well argue that it is 
necessary for a great poet to have a club-foot because Lord 
Byron had one ; or that it is necessary to a great commercial 
city to have bad sand-bars in its harbor, because there are such 
in the entrance to Liverpool. Boston has kept a little of her 
commerce, not because of compulsory pilotage, but in spite of 


it. The Boston pilots are not objects of charity; they can take 
care of themselves. 

In 1 88 1 vessels in the port of Philadelphia were greatly 
relieved, and the fees remaining are much smaller in proportion 
to the labor required than are those at Boston. Compulsory 
pilotage on East River has been abolished on all coastwise 
vessels. The drift in this State is unmistakable. Every legisla- 
tive act on the subject for twenty years has been in the line of 
further exemptions ; fully one-half in number of vessels enter- 
ing Massachusetts ports were relieved from compulsory pilot- 
age by the acts of 1871 and 1873. Notwithstanding the 
objections then made to these acts, which were the same objec- 
tions which are now made here, no evil has resulted ; nobody 
has offered to show that property has been lost by it, or that 
the " service " has deteriorated, or that the pilots have suffered 
in consequence. They have the present week launched a new 
boat, of spacious dimensions, finished, according to the published 
accounts, " in mahogany, plush and velvet," with accommoda- 
tions for thirty pilots, and all modern improvements. 

There can be little doubt, though it has been difficult to get 
at, that several Boston pilots received net, over all expenses and 
board, over $4,000 each for the year 1881. 


They have advanced one very curious reason for extending 
or keeping compulsory pilotage, viz., that it is an unhealthy 
business ; that many pilots at some time or other die of con- 
sumption. You would naturally suppose that men would avoid 
a destructive occupation ; but it appears that young men wait 
for it, and old men, at the age of sixty, with a comfortable com- 
petency, return to it when they can. 

The hardships, dangers, or deprivations bear no comparison 
with those of fishermen or whalers, or any other men who " go 


down to the sea in ships," where compensation is not a fifth 
part of that of the former. 

You have had presented to you an account of the lives, 
fortunes and misfortunes, deaths and dates of the deaths, of 
Boston pilots since 1 8 1 3 ; the thirty-six places have from time 
to time been made vacant by one cause or another, but not a 
resignation among them all. From the facts in the case, I 
should say this was exactly the class of officials of whom Mr. 
Webster spoke, when he said, u Few die, and none resign." 

Gentlemen, the ship-owners and merchants who ask you to 
repeal these obnoxious and burdensome regulations are the 
only parties entitled to consideration here. They are the only 
parties who have an interest in this matter proper for you to 
consider; and with and among all these men, on whom and 
whose business depends the commercial prosperity of this city 
and Commonwealth, there is but one opinion and one sentiment 
on this subject — that expressed in their resolutions and petitions. 
You know how desirable it is, and what efforts have been made, 
to revive your interests in shipping, and restore to Boston her 
former position in the commerce of this and other countries. 

Let us open our harbors to our neighbors, and let Boston's 
position in the world's commerce, so far as this matter goes, be 
that of a " free " port, which signifies liberality in business, 
progress, and civilization. 


Boston, Jan. 30, 1882. 

A meeting of the merchants of Boston was held this day in the rooms of 
the Board of Trade, in answer to a call from the "Pilotage Committee 11 of 
the " New England Ship-owners 1 Association." 

After a full and free discussion of the subject of Compulsory Pilotage the 
following resolutions were passed unanimously : — 

Resolved, That the Pilotage Committee of the New England Ship-Owners 
Association be and are hereby requested to appear before the Committee of 


the Legislature on " Mercantile Affairs," and ask for the abolition of 
Compulsory Pilotage. 

Resolved, That should the Legislative committee seem opposed to the 
entire abolition of Compulsory Pilotage, then this Committee of the N. E. S. 
O. Association are given full powers to petition for such modifications of 
existing pilotage laws as may in their judgment seem to be needed for the 
relief of our shipping interest. 

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts, in General Cozirt assembled: — 

The undersigned petitioners, citizens of Massachusetts, merchants of 
Boston, interested in shipping in the port of Boston, respectfully represent 
that, in our opinion, that feature of the Pilotage Regulations of this 
State which obliges sailing vessels bound into, or out of, the harbor of 
Boston to take pilots and pay them certain fees, regardless of whether the 
services of such pilots are needed or required, is now wholly unnecessary, 
a useless burden, a source of much litigation and annoyance, and an injury to 
shipping interests of this port. 

We believe that no inconvenience has resulted from the relief and exemp- 
tion which have from time to time been given to certain classes of vessels 
from this burden ; and we fail to see any reason why any prejudicial discrim- 
ination should be made or kept up against the port of Boston, or against 
those who, with many other disadvantages, are struggling to maintain our 
interests, and the interests of our city and State in trade and shipping with 
foreign countries. We learn, with surprise, it is now claimed to be the law 
that vessels outward bound from this port to foreign ports are, by a recent 
law, subject to this burden and liability. 

We earnestly petition your Honorable Body to repeal and abolish these 
features of the laws and regulation pertaining to pilotage in this port which 
create and impose upon shipping the useless burdens and liability to which we 
have alluded. 



Boston, Jan. 30, 1SS2. 



Burt, Alexander & Co. 
John S. Emery & Co. 
Stephen H. Whidden. 
And. J. Peters. 
Kilham, Loud & Co. 

John Walter & Co. 
Geo. D. Emery. 

M. F. Whiton & Co. 
Wm. Pope & Sons. 

Henry Hastings & Co. 


C. Lovell & Son. 
Hinckley Bros. & Co. 
J. Baker & Co. 
E. H. Atwood. 
Joseph Nickerson & Co. 
Bakers & Humphrey. 
Doane & Crowell. 
Luther Fiske. 
Uriah B. Fiske. 
Atwood & Rich. 
J. W. Linnell. 
T. L. Mayo & Co. 
C. L. Bartlett & Co. 
C. & J. A. Baker. 
Gammans & Co. 
James Bliss & Co. 
Whiton Bros. & Co. 
N. Boynton & Co. 

Boston, February, 1S82. 


Of the amounts received by each of the Boston Pilots, as returned 
by them to the Cornmissioners, for the year 1881 . 





• $3,764 25 

Thompson * . 



Cooper . 

. 4,098 25 

Smith * . . . . 



Colby * . . . 

2,222 25 

Reed, M. . . . 



Wilson . . . 

. 5,78i 50 




Wellock . . 

5,964 25 

Martin, S. C. . . 



Abbott . . . 

• 5,751 25 

Jeffrey .... 



Lawler . 

4,279 25 

Martin, E. G. . . 



Hooper . 

. 3,203 75 

Lampee . . . 




2,766 00 




Farfield * . . 

2,359 72 

McField, Wm. . 



McField, J. A. 

5,247 75 

Fowler, F. . 



Total . . . 

■ $93,53o 32 

The above made 



having been on 

duty the whole 


David Elliott. 
Aug. B. Perry & Co. 
J. Ashton Preston. 
Welch, Humphrey & Co. 
Addison, Gage & Co. 
M. F. Pickering & Co. 
Colton & Haley. 
E. A. Adams. 
A. G. Sawyer. 
Lewis & Hall. 
G. N. Black. 
S. C. Blanchard. 
Kinsman & Co. 
Crocker Bros. & Co. 
J. P. Ellicott & Co. 
Geo. H. Peters & Co. 
J. H. Flitner & Co. 
Geo. E. Downes. 
Delong & Seaman. 


Hayden . 

Cu minings . 
Nash . . 
Kelly . -. 

$2,355 75 

2,648 75 

1,968 00 

i>77i 75 

1,975 50 

Tewksbury, H. A. 

McField, E. S. . 
Fowler, W. C. 

$2,327 50 

2,573 25 

2,120 50 

2,724 75 

The above nine made returns as having been on duty nine 
months only. 

Tew ksbury, W. F. 
Leary * . . 

$1,353 00 
1,026 25 

Dolliver, A. H. * $869 75 

The above three made returns for six months of the year. 
Hunt * . . . $541 50 I Reed, J $866 50 

Made returns as having been on duty three months only. 

The total amount returned, as received by all the pilots, for 
the year 1881, was $118,653.37. 

The average amount received by each pilot, who held a full 
branch or warrant, and who made returns for the whole year, 
was $4,413.34. 

The above were all returned as from pilots connected with 
seven boats. 

Those marked * did not have a branch or warrant for all vessels.